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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 420-425

Orthopaedic surgical treatment delays at a tertiary hospital in sub Saharan Africa: Communication gaps and implications for clinical outcomes


1 Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Child Oral Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Adeleke O Ifesanya
Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma, University College Hospital, Ibadan
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.126301

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Background: Delay in surgical treatment is a source of distress to patients and an important reason for poor outcome. We studied the delay before carrying out scheduled operative orthopaedic procedures and the factors responsible for it. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was carried out between March 2011 and December 2012. Temporal details of the surgical procedures at our hospital were recorded in a proforma including the patients' perception of the causes of the delay to surgery. Based on the urgency of the need for surgery, patients were classified into three groups using a modification of the method employed by Lankester et al. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 17.0. Predictors of surgical delay beyond 3 days were identified by logistic regression analysis. Results: Two hundred and forty-nine patients with a mean age 36.2 ± 19.2 years and M:F ratio 1.3 were recruited. 34.1% were modified Lankester group A, 45.4% group B and 20.5% group C. 47 patients (18.9%) had comorbidities, hypertension being the commonest (22 patients; 8.8%). Median delay to surgery was 4 days (mean = 17.6 days). Fifty percent of emergency room admissions were operated on within 3 days, the figure was 13% for other admissions. Lack of theatre slot was the commonest cause of delay. There was full concordance between doctors and patients in only 70.7% regarding the causes of the delay. In 15.7%, there was complete discordance. Logistic regression analysis confirmed modified Lankester groups B and C (P = 0.003) and weekend admission (P = 0.016) as significant predictors of delay to surgery of >3 days. Conclusion: Promptness to operative surgical care falls short of the ideal. Theatre inefficiency is a major cause of delay in treating surgical patients in our environment. Theatre facilities should be expanded and made more efficient. There is a need for better communication between surgeons and patients about delays in surgical treatment.


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